Teachers ‘at more risk of catching coronavirus from other teachers than from pupils’

Elementary school pupils participate in class in Bordeaux, France. EPA-EFE/CAROLINE BLUMBERG

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Teachers are at greater risk of contracting coronavirus from their colleagues than from schoolchildren, the British government’s chief pandemic modeller has suggested.

Professor Graham Medley, who oversees the mathematical models relied upon by ministers, said evidence showed teachers returning to work would be more in danger in the staff room than the classroom.

It comes after education unions urged the government to “step back” from its plan to partially reopen schools in England from June 1 over fears that staff could be put at risk.

One union accused ministers of “playing Russian roulette with the lives of our school support staff”.

But Professor Medley, who sits on the Sage committee and chairs the government’s SPI-M group, said evidence suggested children were “not playing a key role” in transmitting the disease.

In an online lecture delivered to the Isaac Newton Institute at Cambridge University, he added that data showed “teachers are very good at transmitting to each other, but less good at transmitting to the children”.

“So the staff room potentially is a kind of a bigger hub of transmission than the classroom. We’re still watching that space very closely,” he added, according to an audio recording of the talk obtained by the Telegraph.

Read more via The Telegraph

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